Kentucky Court: No Executions Until Death Penalty Process Changed

Frankfurt – Kentucky may not execute anyone until it adopts regulations in compliance with the law, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The court ruling came in the case of three Death Row inmates – Thomas C. Bowling, Ralph Baze and Brian Keith Moore – who were challenging the state’s lethal injection protocol.

Bowling was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1990 murders of a husband and wife as they were parked in their car outside their dry cleaning business in Lexington.

Baze was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1992 murders of two police officers who were attempting to serve five fugitive warrants on him in Powell County.

Earlier this week, Attorney General Jack Conway asked Gov. Steve Beshear to set an execution date for Baze and two other men on Death Row.

Meanwhile, the state’s top public defenders, a leading anti-death-penalty group and a group of lawyers sought a moratorium on executions until a recently organized American Bar Association review of the implementation of the death penalty in Kentucky is completed in about 12 to 18 months.

In its 35-page ruling, the court said the state Department of Corrections must follow state-mandated administrative procedures before adopting the current lethal injection process of a three-drug cocktail.

It also said the state should have held public hearings on the process.

“The Department of Corrections is required by Kentucky law to promulgate a regulation as to all portions of the lethal injection protocol except those limited issues of internal management that are purely of concern to department personnel,” the high court said.

It identified “limited issues of internal management” as identities of the execution team, storage location of the drugs and other security-related issues.